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Green Valley

Brewster Avenue and Willow Street, Village of Lombard

History:

Green Valley was a local station on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin’s main line at Brewster Avenue and Willow Street in the village of Lombard. Green Valley was not part of the AE&C’s initial scheme for stops,1 but was added at some point after 1904. In the station’s early years it was known as West Lombard.

The station consisted of a pair of low level, side platforms on opposite sides of Brewster Avenue. The eastbound platform was on the east side while the westbound platform was on the west side.2 Platform lighting was added to both platforms3 and the eastbound platform received a simple passenger shelter at some point prior to 1920.4 The shelter was an 11 ft. 8 in. by 7 ft. 8 in. frame building4 with clapboard siding and a shingled, shed-roof. A single square window was on the east and west faces of the structure and a door opened in the direction of the tracks. (Shelters of this design were used at several locations on the CA&E, such as Jewell Road.)

All local stations on the CA&E were flag stops. Each platform was equipped with a flag stop semaphore which was activated with a pull chain. People wishing to catch a train pulled the chain raising the semaphore (the “flag”) which was notification to the motorman to stop. If the flag was not raised, the train did not stop even if it was listed as a stop for that train on the timetable. Passengers onboard trains wishing to alight here had to notify a conductor of his or her intention to disembark.

With the cutback of service from Wells Street to Forest Park due to the construction of the Congress Street Superhighway [Eisenhower Expressway (I-290)] in 1953, large numbers of passengers fled the CA&E, crippling the railroad financially. In response, in 1956, the Chicago Transit Authority reviewed two similar plans for assuming operation of the line between Forest Park and Wheaton. A/B skip-stop service would have been implemented over the main line under both schemes. One would have used rebuilt PCC streetcars which would have operated between Wheaton and Forest Park where transfers to the “L” would occur.5 Green Valley would have become a “B” stop.6 The other plan called for using existing CA&E rolling stock and would have provided direct service to the Loop via the Garfield Park/Congress branch, the Paulina Connector, and the Lake Street Elevated.7 Under this plan Green Valley would have been one of four stations that would have been eliminated.8

Ultimately, neither of these plans came to pass and on July 3, 1957, the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin abandoned its passenger service. Eventually Green Valley was razed, most likely when the railroad was scrapped in 1961, though the platforms—with little, if any, scrap value—were left in place. Though deteriorated, the platforms are still existent on the Illinois Prairie Path.

Full station profile and history coming soon.

Additional Photos

459a.jpg
After just having made a stop, car 459 leaves Green Valley on a mid-day trip bound for Wheaton. It is September 6, 1954. Today is Labor Day and trains are running on a Sunday schedule. The woman seen leaving the westbound platform had to inform the conductor of her stop. Flag stops, like Green Valley, had times listed on the timetables, but unless the semaphore on the platform was raised or a passenger gave notice to a conductor, the trains did not stop.

Photo by C Scholes

PP_greenvalley1.jpg
The westbound platform of the Green Valley station as seen looking east on March 31, 2010. Most people passing by wouldn't realize that there was a train station at this location. The wooden boards behind the trees are the track-side edge of the platform.

Photo by Don Bosan-Bruno

PP_greenvalley2.jpg
The remains of the Green Valley eastbound platform on March 31, 2010. The mile marker indicates that this point is five miles from the convergence of the Aurora Branch, the Elgin Branch and the Main Stem of the Illinois Prairie Path.

Photo by Don Bosan-Bruno

Sources:

  1. “The Aurora, Elgin & Chicago Railway.” Street Railway Journal Oct. 1902: 407. Print.
  2. The Great Third Rail IV-14
  3. “COST TO REPRODUCE NEW LESS DEPRECIATION BASED ON INVENTORY AND COSTS AS OF DECEMBER 31, 1920: INVENTORY QUANTITIES AND VALUES.” Chicago Aurora and Railroad Company: n.d.: 202. Print.
  4. “COST TO REPRODUCE NEW LESS DEPRECIATION BASED ON INVENTORY AND COSTS AS OF DECEMBER 31, 1920: INVENTORY QUANTITIES AND VALUES.” Chicago Aurora and Railroad Company: n.d.: 200. Print.
  5. “STUDIES RELATING TO A POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTE FOR C. A. & E. SERVICE.” Chicago Transit Authority 18 Apr. 1956: 8. Print.
  6. “STUDIES RELATING TO A POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTE FOR C. A. & E. SERVICE.” Chicago Transit Authority 18 Apr. 1956: Appendix 2-3. Print.
  7. “STUDIES RELATING TO A POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTE FOR C. A. & E. SERVICE.” Chicago Transit Authority 18 Apr. 1956: 3. Print.
  8. “STUDIES RELATING TO A POSSIBLE SUBSTITUTE FOR C. A. & E. SERVICE.” Chicago Transit Authority 18 Apr. 1956: Appendix 1-1. Print.